Art Therapy

Everyone is always asking me, what is art therapy? I always give relatively the same answer. The use of art in the counseling process, the use of creation of art for healing, communication, self-fulfillment, connection with others, etc. The creation of art in itself is healing, fulfilling, life enhancing, comforting, uplifting, terrifying, exhausting, unsettling. All the things needed to process feelings, issues, events, relationships, paths taken and not taken.

the American Art Therapy Association states that “Art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.”

So perhaps art therapy is more than art and more than therapy but can also address life, be a way of life, be a way of communicating with life, others, self. I wonder if because art therapy is more than art and more than therapy, that is why so many people (other therapists and artists) want to do art therapy, practice art therapy and yet don’t really understand it because it is more than either of their fields.

Psychology deals with healing the mind, art deals with expressing the soul, so perhaps art therapy deals with healing the soul along with the mind. It is ineffable I guess.


The Creative Arts Space

The Creative Arts Space is offering art therapy and counseling services again. Call 804-677-1357 for more information. We are revising our website to incorporate our new services and focus area. Check for updates at

Our new location is: 1 East Cary Street, Second Floor, Richmond, Va 23219 open by appointment only.

Counseling for survivors of violence and abuse, partners seeking counseling to overcome relationship struggles, family therapy (divorce and integration of new members, conflicts in the family)

Recent Webinar: “Self-Care for Professionals Working with Victims of Violence”

The National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit under the Office of Violence Against Women recently hosted me giving a presentation on working with traumatized people.  Professionals and allies can experience symptoms of stress and anxiety through our work with survivors of violence, abuse and crime. Developing a pattern of self-care is important to keep yourself healthy and balanced.

Despite some techno glitches, the presentation went well and I got great questions from the audience.  This is something I can often forget to do, keep myself balanced and healthy while working in this field.  Art, knitting, reading and time with my family helps.  Also keeping up with my social support group both professionally and interest groups help me keep a balanced view of humanity.  

Surviving to Thriving

The Creative Arts Space is excited to collaborate with the YWCA on an art therapy to arts activism group. 

The YWCA of Richmond Presents “From Surviving to Thriving,” an opportunity for survivors of sexual trauma to express their emotional journey through art. An art therapy session designed to assist survivors in creating a self-portrait of hope and triumph.

Date: Saturday March 30, 2013. Time: 10:00am-2:00pm. You do not need to have
previous experience as an artist. All art supplies will be provided.

This opportunity is free but we do ask you RSVP and call for directions to Creative Art Space, our generous partners in this project. 

RSVP: Please contact Jessica Davis at 804-980-7287 or Shawntee Wynn at 804-980-7289 by March 28, 2013 to register as space is limited!


Working with One Billion Rising

I was so honored to be part of One Billion Rising and offer our services at The Creative Arts Space for the Healing Booth during the event. Art Therapy can be utilized for activism following therapy or as part of healing. Art and imagery has a long history with advocating for victim rights and societal change. Integrating with efforts like One Billion Rising is a wonderful and affirming opportunity to utilize the healing aspect of art creation with activism for social change.

We offered groups ahead of the event for poster making and arts activism activities and provided services for survivors during the event itself. Having a healing room available during events can be important for survivors who are triggered during the event. The organizers arranged a nice room away from the crowds with plenty of space to make art, process and take an emotional break from the activity. It worked well. I suggest other community activism events that involve individuals present who are survivors of inter-personal crime connect with therapists in your community to do the same.

The event in Richmond was held at the Richmond Coliseum and hosted about 400 people who listened to great speakers, danced, and made commitments to end sexual and domestic violence. I look forward to next year.

I am adding a post by V-DAY about the next steps in this journey for those readers who are activists.

February 14th might be over but ONE BILLION RISING has only begun! Now is the time to harness the power of your activism to change the world.

Let’s start by getting the Senate version of VAWA to the House floor for a vote!

We are calling on all of our U.S based activists to RISE for VAWA and we have a simple 2 week plan, with the aim to get VAWA passed by International Women’s Day on March 8th.

THIS Week:

Organize an event in your communities! Your representatives are currently at home and they need to see the support and feel the pressure of their constituents. You can do this event anywhere and the event can be anything:

  • You’ve already got your dancing shoes on so hold a RISE for VAWA flash mob!
  • Hold a rally in a public space (town square, local mall, town hall etc) and invite local activists to speak about the importance of VAWA and ending violence against women and girls
  • Protest outside of government offices and buildings
  • Hold a concert, open mic night, theatrical production, etc to support VAWA and those working to get it passed

Any of these options and more will help highlight the support for VAWA in your community.

NEXT Week:

Starting on Monday February 25th, your representatives will be back in Washington D.C. We are urging you ALL to flood their telephone lines and email inboxes with messages of support for VAWA. MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!



Don’t forget to invite the press! The more support our representatives see for VAWA the greater the chance for success!! Check out our One Billion Rising Media Tips

CONTACT Your Representative! Feminist Majority has made it super simple to contact your representative, just enter your zip code and you’re halfway there! CONTACT

Why is VAWA so important? LEARN more

SEND ENERGY & THANKS to VAWA’s friends in Congress, and SEND COURAGE to the Members who are silent so that they can stand up for survivors and victims and vote for VAWA >

Art for Activism – Create, Heal, Advocate

An expressive art experience for those impacted by violence who want to create an art piece about their experience whether personal or as a witness to share with the outer world to encourage change. These groups are led by art therapists with experience in working with survivors and witnesses to crime.

There is a $5.00 fee for supplies… I provide basic supplies: some poster board, paper, a few canvasses, markers, paints, collage, containers, etc. people can bring items of their own to incorporate as well.

The next group is Sunday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm for those making art for One Billion Rising



The Creative Arts Space
1 East Cary Street, Suite 203, Richmond, VA 23219

We are located on the corner of Cary Street and Foushee Street. There is street parking in front and a lot across the street for $3.00.


A collaboration with the James House – art therapy for survivors of domestic violence

The Creative Arts Space is excited to start a collaborative project with The James House, a non-profit in Hopewell that provides services to survivors of sexual and domestic violence.

Our art therapy intern: Kathleen Seow will be starting an art therapy group for survivors of domestic violence in February on-site in Hopewell. This group will run in tandem with their advocacy and educational group for survivors.

We are seeking donations of art supplies for use in the group (donation receipt available through the James House). Items such as:

drawing paper
colored pencils
collage materials
poster board
colored paper


Art for Activism – Create, Heal, Advocate

The Creative Arts Space is hosting art making sessions Thursday evenings from 4 – 6 pm as open studio events. Come join us and create your artistic statement to bring to the One Billion Rising event on Feb. 14th or to display in support of One Billion Rising. Art making sessions will be scheduled on
Thursday, January 24th 4 – 6 pm

Thursday, January 31st 4 – 6 pm

Thursday, February 7th 4 – 6 pm

Saturday sessions will be scheduled if interest is shown.

a $5.00 fee per person per session will be charged for supplies. Basic art supplies will be provided: paper, colored paper, glue, paint, markers, crayons, collage materials. People are welcome to bring any additional supplies they want to include.

The Creative Arts Space
1 East Cary Street, Suite 203, Richmond, VA 23219 804-972-8243

If you wish to support the work of non-profits that work to end violence, here is a list of suggestions:

The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance – provides a statewide hotline, training for advocates and allied professionals, and advocates for rights of survivors and our community. Donate

Richmond, Virginia area sexual and domestic violence service agencies:

The James House provides a 24 hour hotline, advocacy, emergency housing, and counseling. Donate

The Richmond YWCA provides a 24 hour hotline and medical/forensic accompaniment, shelter services, advocacy and counseling. Donate

Safe Harbor Shelter – is located in Henrico, County and provides services to sexual assault and domestic violence survivors: a 24 hour hotline, advocacy, counseling and shelter services. Donate


Volunteering with my state Art Therapy Association

I am returning to volunteer with the Virginia Art Therapy Association (VATA), this time as Social Media Representative.  I will get to work with Danica Hendrich again.  I am so looking forward to that!  So folks, I will be expanding my tweeting and blogging on art therapy related topics once again!